Project Arnprior Cares: Support a Refugee Family

Khairullah Koffee

Dear friends,

"I am Ajmal Khairullah, an Afghan refugee living in Canada, far from my homeland, fearing for the safety of my loved ones left behind.

My father, a successful Afghan businessman, moved us to the United Arab Emirates in 2001 for a safer life during the tumultuous times in Afghanistan. He later ventured back to Afghanistan and developed successful businesses, working closely with the Afghan government. However, this success came with a steep price - accusations of espionage by the Taliban. His life, and those of my family, were in constant danger.

After high school graduation in 2015, I started working in my father's business. Then in 2016, I moved to Turkey in Istanbul, where I met my partner, Gina Al Halabi, a Syrian citizen. I managed to excel academically, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and finance from LSE, University of London. My summers were filled with internships at renowned Afghan financial institutions, painting a promising future for me in finance. After graduation I worked full time at a government bank in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the Taliban's growing control over Afghanistan, especially after the U.S. and NATO forces' withdrawal, cast a dark shadow over our lives. Me and my father began receiving threatening calls from the Taliban, heightening our fear for our safety. After a distressing incident at my workplace, I made the difficult decision to leave Afghanistan in August, 2021, utilizing an only valid visa to Brazil while my family remained in hiding until they found a safe passage out of Afghanistan to Turkey through Iran a few months later.

My journey to safety was fraught with danger and exhaustion. Starting in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and moving through to Colombia, the journey was physically challenging. The trek was long, the environment unfamiliar, and the experience taxing, but the need for safety was paramount. The next leg of my journey required me to take a boat to Panama. It was an arduous but necessary part of my voyage. Following this, I navigated the Darien Gap, a region known for its being one of the rainiest and most dangerous places on the planet, a lawless, unpoliced region, with many drug smugglers and sometimes political rebels. Once past the Darien Gap, my journey took me through several Latin American countries. Each new border crossed brought me one step closer to safety. After a series of relentless travels, I arrived in Mexico in October 2021. The final part of this strenuous journey involved traveling from southern Mexico to Mexico City in a container truck with 300 other individuals. This was a clear testament to the extremes one must go to find safety in desperate circumstances. Despite the hardships, the drive to find a secure future kept me going.

However, my trials were far from over. Upon entering the U.S., I was taken into custody by immigration authorities.  Upon my release from U.S. detention, I found myself disillusioned with the U.S. refugee determination system. Terrified of being deported back to Afghanistan, I chose to cross the U.S.-Canada border into British Columbia to seek refugee protection.

Today, I live in Arnprior, which I have embraced as my new home, where I seek to rebuild my life while bearing the heavy burden of fear for my family in Turkey, that faces an imminent return to Afghanistan. The Taliban's firm grip over the country and their history of violent retribution against those associated with foreign allies or the previous regime, pose a serious threat to my family's safety.

This is my plea to you. I need your help to bring my family to safety in Canada. My story is a chilling reminder of the threats many face under oppressive regimes, and the desperate lengths they will go to protect their loved ones. By supporting this fundraiser, you can help me reunite with my family, and provide them with a chance at a safer, more secure life in Canada."

Please join me in proving that compassion and kindness can overcome hatred and violence. Donate today, and offer my family a beacon of hope amidst these dark and challenging times.

The world continues to face a problem of forced migration, where millions of people are forced to leave their societies because of various reasons including threats, oppression, persecution and other types of hardships.

Arnprior Cares continues to appreciate the good will and compassion of members of the Arnprior and area community over the last year in supporting a refugee family.  Fundraisers and cultural events have been held with wonderful community support and generosity.  We continue to sell SNARK coffee, a delicious locally roasted coffee available through Arnprior Cares or phone Pat Dalphy at (613) 836 3803.

We look forward to a time when we can celebrate the reunification of Ajmal Khairullah's family in their adopted hometown of Arnprior.


We ask you to donate as you are able

This project is jointly initiated and supported by different groups including: church communities and other community organizations in Arnprior. They invite people of good will to join them and express their kindness by supporting the initiative.

Note: To honour the family’s pro-peace and anti-corruption efforts (which it is victim of), we would love to collect money and other donations only earned through ethical deals/works. Also, donations from people or companies that support nuclear weapons are not accepted.

Tax receipts will be provided for donations over $20.

To donate by cheque:

Donors can make cheques to Arnprior Cares or e-transfer to
Donors who want a charitable tax receipt need to provide their name and address and the amount they have given with their donation.

We thank you so much for your generosity.

In gratitude,

Project Arnprior Cares Sponsorship Committee

May 8, 2024